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Climate change poses “immediate risks” to national security and will have broad and costly impacts on the way the U.S. military carries out its missions, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says. In a statement, Hagel called global warming a “threat multiplier,” saying rising seas and increasing numbers of severe weather events could exacerbate the dangers posed by threats ranging from infectious disease to terrorism. Hagel was in Peru on Monday for the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, where he planned to discuss a Defense Department report titled “2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap.”
“Climate change will affect the Department of Defense's ability to defend the Nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security,” the report says. Hagel said that rising sea levels could flood coastal military bases in the U.S. and around the world, while droughts, wildfires and more extreme temperatures could threaten military training activities. “Our supply chains could be impacted, and we will need to ensure our critical equipment works under more extreme weather conditions,” Hagel said.
The Center for Climate and Security, a policy institute with an advisory board of retired senior military officers and national security experts, said in a statement it concurred with the roadmap's assessment and urged policymakers to follow the military's lead.
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